2011-08-12 / Columnists

Historical Views of the Rockaways

Rockaway Point After The Installation Of The Rock Hook Jetty In 1933
From The Rockaway Museum Commentary by Emil Lucev, Curator Dedicated To The Memory Of Leon S. Locke

In 1931, if you were at the ocean end of Beach 222 Street at Rockaway’s Breezy Point (the geographical point of the Rockaway peninsula) you either had to be a good swimmer or in a boat of some kind. The solid ground there now was not there in the early 1930s, and westward drifting beach sands collected to the south and east of the stone hook jetty, which was installed during the years 1931-32-33. The hook jetty, as it is commonly referred to, was originally proposed for the entrance to the planned Jamaica Bay Harbor way back in 1907. The harbor idea was kept alive for many years thereafter, and the fed/state/N.Y.C. politicos tried in vain to build it, until they finally all realized they were kicking a dead horse to get up (if you will!)

After the build-up of beach land accomplished after the jetty construction was completed, a new argument ensued about a decade later. The big question had to do with who owned the more than 66 acres of beach land that had accrued as a result of the jetty construction. During the years thereafter, more and more sand was washed up, and I believe the last contention of ownership was between the city of New York and the Breezy Point cooperative, when Gateway National Recreation Area came about in the 1960s.

This week, Historical Views presents two 1930 vintage views, one showing a much wider beach on the ocean at Breezy Point, and the other the new Cape Cod-type bungalows being built at Breezy Point.

Can anyone at the point today pinpoint the exact areas shown? Sometimes, as the Wave/Rockaway historian, yours truly can’t tell the players without a scorecard …. and my best scoreboard is the reader of Historical Views!

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